This weekend I’m doing one of the things I enjoy most–meeting readers and writers promenading by the thousands at the University of Arizona’s annual Tucson Festival of Books event. This will be my third year to play at the Festival. The first year I signed at the Friends of Oro Valley Library’s booth with other Oro Valley writers. Last year as the YA category winner of the Arizona State Library’s OneBookAZ 2016 literary contest, my book tour started at the Tucson Festival where I appeared in the State Library’s booth and signed books. It was a great launch for my Arizona novel, The Haunting of Josh Weston, and I look forward to doing the Festival again this weekend. Hope to see you there!
Archive for the ‘Books’ Category
I enjoy speculating that rather than a being fixed position along a continuum, Time might be a fluid subjective awareness. Besides being fun, that kind of conjecture may keep me open to the possibilities of NOW.
A concept of Time can be expressed in context, such as I keep reminding myself that now is the best time in the history of publishing for a writer with a story to tell and sell directly to the reader. As such a writer, I’ve been serving as a facilitator of a Promotional CoOp of writers that is a subsection of the Oro Valley Writers Workshop in Tucson. We combine the best of past publishing experience of our members with emerging publishing alternatives and promotional opportunities in cooperative marketing operations.
The idea of a promotional cooperative occurred to me as I attended the OV Writers Workshop meetings. I and one other author are usually the only ones with experience in traditional publishing. Most of the attending writers want to publish and are eager to learn how they can get their work to the readers, only to find that publishing the book may be the easiest part. Actually attracting readers or finding an audience can be daunting if almost a mysterious dark art. I’ve long heard, “I hate promoting. I just want to write” from multi-published authors throughout my career.
After our Promotional CoOp’s last meeting, I expressed the following to the CoOp members: As authors seeking publication today, either traditional or Indie, we’re all in business. More than any other time in the history of publishing, we authors have vast choices in how we can reach our readers. It’s my intention at Promo CoOp to demonstrate some of those options which I’ve experienced as a traditionally published, small press and now a self-published author of my backlist. As an Indie publisher, I continue to study the evolving market, the many publishing opportunities and new promotional venues going live every day. It’s a very exciting time for all of us as we each choose how we will participate in this new market. To that end, let us, as Captain Picard of the starship Enterprise (my husband Bob is often mistakenly for Sir Patrick Stewart who plays Captain Picard) says, “Make it so!”
Consequently, concerning the concept of Time in the context of Indie publishing today, let’s go with, “It was the best of times . . . .”
Heading north to Prescott, AZ where it’s been snowing big time. Going to play with the librarians at the Arizona State Library YA Summit. I’ve just entered the PNWA 2017 Nancy Pearl Literary Award contest for published books. Hope my award-winning YA, The Haunting of Josh Weston, does well. I’m also the Sponsor of the YA Category of the PNWA 2017 Literary Contest.
After my CONTEST SMARTS workshop this summer at Pacific Northwest Writers Conference, attendees kept asking me for more tips and strategies for entering writing contests. I came home to Tucson and embarked on twin projects of building a website and creating a how-to book of CONTEST SMARTS: Writing Contest Winning Strategies. The book will be available October 1, 2016 on Amazon.
The website is now live. Check it out for featured writing/literary contests, winning strategies, winners’ interviews, and the infamous Undiscerning Arbiter Award given to the worst/funniest judge’s comments. The next interview is with Darcy Carson, Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest Chairperson 2006 – 2014, who will discuss all things PNWA contest and her own successes entering writing contests.
Melinda Rucker Haynes is the sponsor of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2017 Literary Contest Young Adult Category.
The Pacific Northwest Writers Association, PNWA, has sponsored an annual literary contest for over sixty years. There are twelve fiction and nonfiction categories for unpublished work and a separate category for published books. The last few years contest entries have numbered over a 1000. Last summer my experimental Boomer Lit paranormal romance, BITTEN, about a menopausal vampire was a finalist in the romance category.
In the 2016 PNWA Literary Contest I entered a western historical romance novel, REMITTANCE, Book I, a sweeping saga of a Bostonian blue stocking businesswoman running from her past after a Spanish remittance man who flees with her nephew down the dangerous Santa Fe Trail to his noble family’s land grant in New Mexico. I previously entered the first three chapters in Romance Writers of America’s Hearts Through History chapter’s literary contest and the story came second in Best Short Historical. I can’t wait to see how REMITTANCE does at the PNWA Awards banquet on Saturday night, July 30 in Seattle.
Before the Awards banquet on Saturday, I’ll be giving a ninety minute workshop, CONTEST SMARTS: Make Writing Contests Work for You, at 5:00-6:30. I’ve been called a contest guru because I’ve won sixteen writing contest awards. (There are editing and website content awards in the list, too.) I have over twenty years experience entering writing contests, developing contests, and judging entries and have learned much that I hope will inspire and help writers make writing contests work for their particular career goals and maybe win some, too!
CONTEST SMARTS Kindle eBook
Winning the ONEBOOKAZ 2016 Young Adult eBook award in March 2016 kicked off a marvelous adventure of touring Arizona’s libraries with my young adult novel, The Haunting of Josh Weston. My roadie, Bob, and I started with the Tucson Festival of Books. Seven libraries and hundreds of miles later our tour ended in Chandler, Arizona, a Phoenix suburb. The librarians and their patrons were so much fun, booklovers every one!
ONEBOOKAZ is at an end and my book is the last YA novel winner. There aren’t going to be anymore ONEBOOKAZ contests and awards. It was suggested that I make available paperbacks of my book for tour signings and for book clubs and libraries to order. The ebook edition was available on the ONEBOOKAZ site for Arizonans to read for free during the tour. Now that ONEBOOKAZ is ended and the free online reading no longer available, Sonrisa Multimedia has published an electronic Kindle edition on Amazon.com of The Haunting of Josh Weston
This little Arizona ghost story has been very good to me, and the book’s fans aren’t just limited to my family and friends and other Arizonans. It was nominated for three national awards, prior to winning the ONEBOOKAZ contest. Now with the paperback and Kindle ebook editions available, I’m hearing from teens and from the growing audience of adult readers who enjoy stories about weird families living and learning together, despite the stimulating meddling of a crazy ghost or two.
I’ve always treasured librarians. My mother-in-law is a retired librarian, who trained her son in the dark art of cataloguing and organizing data. That’s what brought us together. I needed help organizing data for an adult education research project I was directing at UNLV and Bob stepped into my office with exactly the skillset the project (and I) required. Then and now. He’s ever my beloved patron and currently serving as a roady for my book tour of Arizona libraries.
Last Saturday Bob the Roady and I toured to the Tempe Library for their Book Festival. What a wonderful venue for booklovers and authors to meet each other in a beautiful setting. The Arizona State Library hosted me and my OneBookAZ 2016 literary contest winning book, The Haunting of Josh Weston, at a great table downstairs outside the Teen Room. I also served on a Teen Reviewer panel and got updated on their favorite reads, as well as what they saw as the new hotness in YA books. Dystopian fantasy is still of interest, but super heroes are the next big thing for some. I say how about a cool ghost story set on a hidden ranch in northwestern Arizona?
We’re at the Yuma Library on Saturday, April 23, at 2:00. I’ll be giving a workshop on the Power of Place in Your Story, as well as signing books. See you there, I hope!
The Arizona State Library’s OneBookAZ 2016 literary contest named my young adult novel, The Haunting of Josh Weston, the winner! The eBook is live today at OneBookAZ and it looks great on the website! There’s also a free downloadable Curriculum/Study Guide for use in the classroom. The ebook is available on the OneBookAZ site and maybe read for free by Arizona readers. The paperback is available at Amazon.com and coming soon to Kindle.
Please click on the BOOKs link above for more information.
I found my bio on the OneBookAZ page a complete surprise! Race right on up there and have a look. And a laugh. Don’t really know where that version came from. Sounds like me, but it sure isn’t the one I sent them for publication and tweaked and resubmitted. I’m thinking of asking them to take it down and put up the one I sent, because it’s very different in tone and content from the other two ladies’ very professional bios. We three winners are all retired teachers and we are the last winners, as this is the last year of the OneBookAZ literary contest.
I like to believe I was born in the perfect place, to the perfect parents at a perfect time for what I wanted to accomplish in this life. But I was restless. From that 2:00 o’clock hour on a scorching August afternoon in Northwestern Arizona when 8.3 pound me was pulled out of a 100 pound young Norma Jean, I dreamed of being somewhere else. Anywhere. Anytime. And I was in a hurry to get there.
I didn’t appear in this world with travelin’ shoes, just the lifelong urge to find some that actually fit. One early day my long, even then, feet carried three year old me out the front door and down the unpaved street. I made it several dusty, hot blocks to the first sidewalk of downtown Kingman before a pickup truck pulled up beside me.
“Where are you going, Melinda?”
I looked straight ahead and kept walking. Faster now as I was about to pass the slouchy wood building with sagging screen doors opening on the street, a creepy place where funny old men “flopped” and little girls must beware.
The pickup stopped, blocking my escape. “Melinda,” the driver repeated, climbing out of the cab, “where’s your mother?”
Blistering wind whirled dust around me in a miniature tornado. My eyes stung as I squinted at my options: floppy old men lurking on my left and right in front of me, Mrs. Oswalt, a tall mother in a cotton dress whipping around her long legs who confined her little boy in the truck where she intended to capture me.
She took my sweaty little paw and bent eye level with me. “Where are you going, honey?”
I gave up and announced, “I’m going to the Corky Pig!” I let her lead me to the pickup.
She stopped and looked down at me with a frown. “But that’s way up on Hilltop. A couple of miles from here.” She continued to mutter this refrain the whole ride home as if to make an impression upon me of the impossibility of my quest. When my mother answered the door, Mrs. Oswalt pushed me forward, releasing my hand, and repeated this horror story to her.
As long as my mother lived, when we talked about my congenital wanderlust, she would protest how she hadn’t even realized I had left my room to walk to the Corky Pig, a hole-in-the-wall barbeque place miles away from our little house. They’d taken me there one time. “And it wasn’t that good,” Mom would always laugh.
But as the Mmmmmmelinda song goes: When a girl’s born restless and has a taste for adventure, she’ll put on her big boots that are made for walkin’. That’s just what she’ll do and walk all over—for barbeque. Or to the Dairy Queen with a penny, but that’s another sunny tale.
When I entered the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s 2015 Literary Contest, I wasn’t sure which genre category my novel, BITTEN, fit. I settled on Romance/Women’s Fiction as my heroine is reunited with a long lost lover and she’s an older woman trying to regain her power after being betrayed by her husband. The Paranormal/Fantasy category would have worked as BITTEN is actually a very DIFFERENT and funny vampire story.
I shared with my fellow authors in our Editing Coop that I thought Women’s Fantasy would be a good genre descriptor for my story about a menopausal vampire who becomes more powerful than her maker. It was suggested that the word fantasy might have racier connotations than I intended. And wasn’t the word fantasy sometimes pejoratively used to describe women’s stories, issues and interests?
When I think of fantasy, I remember the old fairytales of Cinderella, Rapunzel and Scheherazade that entertained and encouraged me as a little girl growing up in a tiny town in northwestern Arizona. Nowadays, modern Disney movies such as Brave and Frozen are inspiring little girls and much older ones like me to be the stars of our own fairytales despite age, illness, or circumstance. I want Women’s Fantasy genre and my book, BITTEN, to suggest positive, even outrageous, potentials that inspire readers to live, laugh, love and dream.
But that’s just mmmmmmmmmmme.
Pacific Northwest Writers Association has announced the finalist entries in their annual literary contest. My new paranormal romance, BITTEN, is a finalist in the Romance Category. The winners will be announced at PNWA’s annual conference, July 16-19, in Seattle, Washington.